Purpose – The paper aims to explore the relationship between rough sleepers, welfare and policy in the city of Liverpool, taking Liverpool City Council's Homelessness Strategy 2008‐2011 as a starting point. The paper takes as its premise the notion of rough sleepers as among the most vulnerable and marginalised in society, and questions how well they are protected by policy. Design/methodology/approach – The approach used is analysis and contextualisation of the strategy document in terms of welfare and criminological perspectives. Findings – The paper posits that the city's European Capital of Culture Status for 2008 has acted as a springboard for further consumerist and regeneration‐driven aspirations, facilitated by restriction of entitlement to access city space for groups such as rough sleepers. The piece explores responses to rough sleepers and other “undesirable” city centre space users in Liverpool and contends that their behaviour and activities are criminalised. Ultimately, it is argued that the city, whilst it prioritises its goal of becoming a “world‐class city”, fails to deliver in terms of its welfare obligations. Originality/value – It is argued that the failure of the strategy to adequately consider the direct needs of rough sleepers renders them subject to other approaches, namely criminalisation. The article is valuable to both academics interested in aspects of social justice and practitioners engaged in policy making, in that it highlights some of the ways in which policy can fail to meet its basic requirements.
International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 21, 2011
Keywords: Social welfare; Homelessness; Social welfare policy; United Kingdom
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